There is no title to this next entry, I apologize now in case this story I’m about to tell is off putting, too graphic or what you (as the reader) deem as a cry for attention; I assure you its not.
Has there been a day in your life, that’s never been the same again? Whether its changed you for the good or bad, I challenge you to share a story that may be uncomfortable to tell, or a time to celebrate. My story isn’t one that everyone knows, they may know vague details of it, or those who do know it were the ones there to help me fight for my life.
Here’s my story:
We were on our final day in NYC, the family and I all took a trip to the Big Apple for Easter Break, when I woke up with severe stomach pain that morning. The pain was continuous and sharp, combined with the feeling of bloating
(if you’re a woman reading this, think time of the month pain and times that by 5) I figured popping two extra strength tylenol would fix the problem, about an hour goes by and the pain has worsened and the tylenol had the same effect as a tic tac. We were on our final day of our trip, and had a couple places to check out before boarding a flight back home, I wasn’t about to let a bit of pain hold me back and potentially ruin the family trip. Before we left I popped another two tylenol and strongly contemplated three that time. Off we went, anyone who knows me would know that I’m not a fast walker by any means and am often told to quicken my pace, but that day I was walking extra slow and struggling to stay upright, and fighting against the urge to want to sit down. After complaining enough we decided to cut the final day’s plans a bit shorter and headed off to the airport.
Before boarding the plane I took another two tylenol. That’s 6 tylenol in the last 8 hours. As soon as we took off from NYC to YYZ (Toronto,Canada) the pain disappeared. Thank god, wasn’t sure how many more times I could ask mum, dad, or grandma for two pills for this pain. The 2.5 hour flight was a breeze, no pain and I was ready to tackle the journey home. After the plane landed the pain came flooding back, a little more severe this time. I’d held off asking for any more pain killers as I figured I’d worry the family if I asked for any more. We boarded the plane heading from YYZ (Toronto,Canada) to YYC (Calgary, Canada) pain was gone. Same routine when we landed, more pain this time and a huge struggle to stay standing upright. We got home and for the next three days, the pain was bad, severe and constant, but I figured it’d pass.
After the 3rd day, I collapsed and vomited, although mum was mad at me for “being dramatic” and unable to clean up my own mess. (Given my previous track record of ailments etc. she had a reason to think I was being a hypochondriac, or dramatic; I’m a wimp when I’m sick) I was instructed to go lay down (as now we thought it was a flu) and see if the sickness passed. The pain got increasingly worse and my ability to walk, was sitting about a 1/10. My parents suggested that we call an ambulance, I declined and the only reason for that? The cost. My parents could afford it no problem, I just didn’t want to burden them. I gathered up what little strength I had left and walked, assisted by my dad to our car. The pain at this point was a 20/10 and crying didn’t help the pain or make me feel better, to be honest I’m surprised I didn’t pass out.
I waited a total of 45mins in the emergency room ( my fault really, the pain 20/10? I told the triage nurse it was an 8/10; I figured I was just being a bit wimpy, and figured everyone had a higher pain tolerance than me) my dad couldn’t see me in pain anymore and demanded I get seen too, and immediately.
To quickly sum up my hospital experience for you, I was on morphine, various other pain killers,blood thinners, oxygen, different drugs that fought off infections (side effects included uncontrollable vomiting and stool that was as loose as water – which forced me at age 17 to have my first experience with adult diapers). The sad thing about the whole being forced to wear diapers? My bed was the closest to the washroom. But struggling with IV’s and various machines on “the wrong side” of the bed left me no hope of making it. The vomiting wouldn’t stop so they inserted a tube up my nose and down my throat to drain my stomach. I didn’t talk for days. I felt so embarrassed when my friends or family came to visit, and silently hoped that if I didn’t talk much, they wouldn’t stay long, to see me like that.
In total I had 6 CT Scans about 10 room mates who all had surgery’s and were granted the “ok” to go home. I had to retrain my muscles how to walk and carry myself (I’d been in bed for 3 weeks and lost about 25lbs in that time) and slowly start myself back on food; I’d lost my appetite in the time spent there. I’d also developed and abscess and required a quick procedure to insert a tube to drain it. Due to not eating my body wasn’t getting nutrients, I had another “procedure” called a P.I.C.C Line When that procedure was explained to me I broke down, I’d been through enough and really hadn’t ever had the time to just sit and cry. I let it all out and proceeded with the P.I.C.C Line
After roughly a month spent in The Foothills Hospital I was finally released. During my time spent there, my mum also fell ill, with a ruptured appendix (something our doctors had never experienced, a mother and daughter with the same sickness or problem).
In a follow up consultation with my doctor he told me I must’ve been made of iron, because the night he operated on me, he never thought he’d see me through it. He explained appendectomies take about 1 hr, using 2 liters of Saline to clean out the puss. Mine took 4 hours and 5 liters. He also told me that once the appendix bursts, its a 5% chance of survival. I obviously have some purpose to be here (on earth), its now my job to figure out what that purpose is.
After being so close to death I no longer take everything for granted and I am truly grateful for the second chance I’ve been given. My parents, brother, family and friends were my rock, without them I don’t know if I could have made it.
Like mentioned above, I challenge you to share your story and thank you for listening to mine.
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